Early Summer Bass
By Dean Stroman
There is some great and easy fishing this time of year. Now is the time to take a child or novice to your favorite lake and teach them different bass fishing techniques. Most bass will be in shallow water all day long and have longer feeding periods. Spinnerbaits are great to start the day. If a spinnerbait fails to produce, switch to a soft jerkbait. The jawtech KO shad is an excellent lure for beginners. For those of you who can be on the lake at daybreak, topwater action will be good. Pop R's and buzzbaits will produce a lot of bass. During mid-morning to early afternoon, switch to a jig and craw and soft plastics. Big and small jig and pigs and soft plastic baits will produce this time of year.
One excellent lure to try during mid-day when the bite slows down is a weightless, watermelon chartreuse (or your lake's hot color) Ring Fry made by Mark Pack's Lake Fork Tackle. Make sure you use a big 5/0 hook with the Ring Fry. This bait has a lot of bulk and a little hook will not penetrate very well through the plastic. The Ring Fry throws very easily weightless and can be fished around the heaviest grass and cover. Slowing down is the main key when fishing weightless baits. Work it the same way you would a Texas-rigged plastic worm and hang on. Big bass love it.
Big bass in summer will be caught on a wide variety of lures. Don't be stubborn and stick with big baits only. Last year, the largest bass caught in my boat came on a watermelon seed French fry, just after I told my client that he would only catch little buck bass on a French fry. He proved me wrong with a Lake Fork giant. When your big bite slows down, try downsizing your lure. It could pay off.
After the spawn most big bass will not completely leave shallow water, but will drop off to the first breakline. Look for a contour break in the heaviest wood or grass. They will rest for a few days, then go on about a two-week feeding binge. During feeding periods they roam shallow water areas and feed on almost anything that looks edible. This is the time you can catch numbers. Their weight will be lower than before spawn, but your chances of catching numbers of quality bass will be good.
Anytime big bass are holding in shallow water, make sure to keep your boat noise to a minimum. Turn off your big motor. Use the trolling motor to quietly and slowly move from place to place. Big bass are easily spooked in shallow water.
One overlooked item when fishing shallow water is a good pair of polarized sunglasses. There are a lot of good fishing glasses on the market. The best I have found is Ocean Wave. Their lenses are guaranteed never to scratch and come with a lifetime warranty. The penetration and visibility through water is unsurpassable and the fit is very comfortable. Regardless of brand of polarized sunglasses you choose they are a must for successful shallow water bass fishing. You will be surprised at how many big bass you can see cruising around with good quality glasses.
Special congratulations to Bill Parham from Oklahoma. Bill is an avid big bass angler who recently joined the "elite few" with a 16.80lb monster bass with a length of 29-1/2 inches from Lake Guerrero. That's not all, he also caught five bass over 10 pounds on the same trip. Bill trailered his boat to Lake Guerrero, Mexico and caught all of these big bass on a white Terminator spinnerbait. All bass were certified at the lodge and released back into Lake Guerrero at the dock. Bill caught his first 10-pound plus bass while fishing with me on Lake Fork and has been a Lake Fork regular ever since. He is also a dedicated reader of Honey Hole. Man, what a trip! Bill, I'll see you at Lake Guerrero next January!
A last note, during summer most lakes are very crowded. Be courteous to your fellow fishermen. If you motor to your favorite fishing spot and someone is already fishing it, give them room. They were there first.
When you come to Lake Fork, give me a call on 903-383-7214. I'll be happy to help you catch your trophy. I'll give you the latest fishing information and tips. Good luck and good fishing.
Dean Stroman is a full-time professional guide on Lake Fork, specializing in big bass. He has over 25 years experience pursuing trophy largemouth in Texas. Dean is sponsored by Steve's Boats and Motors, Bull Shoals, Arkansas, Ranger Boats and Mercury Outboards, Daiwa, Weedless Lures, Power Pro-line, jawtech Lures, Ocean Wave Sunglasses, Terminator, Lockhart Lures, Lake Fork Taxidermy, Mark Pack's Lake Fork Tackle and Lake Fork Marina & Motel.